When you think of diversity, I highly doubt the Federal Reserve is the first organization that comes to mind. But here we are, in a post-twitter election, things are changing for the weirder (some for the better, others for the worst).
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, after realizing that 80% of its new recruits were men decided to do something about it. They reached out to multiple colleges and universities and changed the perception of the “old boys network”.
According to Mary C Daly, the change was hard, but very much possible. “Year after year we reassured ourselves that we weren’t really accountable for our lackluster diversity report card. We noted that few women go into economics, and even fewer go on to get econ PhDs. When they do, higher-profile academic institutions with deeper pockets and more bargaining room snap them up. We just can’t compete. In other words, given the circumstances, a B is a pretty good grade.” While I’m sure this is the mindset of several organizations, this is not a good mindset. Just like selling a product, you have to adapt to the changing demographics. Ask Blockbuster what happens when you don’t evolve with the environment.
The Federal Reserve of San Francisco, after committing to improving its diversity, found a surprising fact. Although 4 out of 5 employees were men, 40% of new graduates were women. The available female employees were there, they just weren’t reaching out to them effectively. And so the organization created a strategy and improved its recruitment. While reading the exploits of the Fed in San Francisco, one thing came to mind….if you don’t have a pipeline reaching out to women and minorities, then create one. The potential employees are there, they’re just not being given an opportunity to shine.